Scott Shay, Author of 'Conspiracy U: A Case Study,' Featured on Passport Mommy Radio Show with Michelle Jerson: In a world of fake news and hype, what distinguishes theories from conspiracy theories? Do certain issues and rhetoric, such as anti-Zionism, receive a protected platform on university campuses around the United States? Is there an anti-Jewish bias in academia, and if so, does that create problems in other areas of society? Is there a universal standard by which theories and ideologies can be examined in the quest for truth? In his timely and powerful new book, Conspiracy U: A Case Study, author Scott Shay gives an in-depth analysis demonstrating that both his alma mater and academia in general have sacrificed academic integrity and trustworthy scholarship in favor of conspiracy theories.
“To say something is a conspiracy theory should not be some general rhetorical charge,” explains Shay. “Rather, conspiracy theories have definable parameters. They claim to be explanations of political or social phenomena that are the result of a covert conspiracy by powerful and secret actors.”
While writing a tribute to his father, a survivor of the Holocaust who educated him on the importance of faith and Jewish values, Shay was disturbed and dismayed to discover the presence of far-right and far-left anti-Zionist professors on the faculty of his alma mater, Northwestern University. As a student of Jewish thought, history, and current events, who has written extensively on contemporary Jewish issues, he was compelled to take a deep dive into the world of anti-Zionist conspiracy theories and academia.
“I learned that Northwestern University, my beloved alma mater and a jewel of American academia, has enabled some of its professors to openly promote conspiracy theories,” says Shay. “Sadly, many academics can no longer even identify conspiracy theories. Professorial proponents insist that far from being conspiracy theorists, they are brave truth tellers.”
“Conspiracy U” is a devastating and clear-minded deep dive into the phenomenon of conspiracy theories…It’s a Masterclass in identifying and weeding out conspiracy theories wherever they exist.
John Kelly, Detroit Free Press, 5-stars
These two faculty members become a specific case study by which Shay examines the more general proliferation of anti-Zionist conspiracy theories. He precisely defines the differences between theories and conspiracy theories and shows how the views of Zionism held by these scholars fall into the latter category. He provides an overview of the political and historical lineage of anti-Zionist conspiracy theories, demonstrates how they are connected to currently popular academic theories such as decolonialism, and takes note of the central role they hold in political discourse on both the far-right and far-left. Shay describes how similar dynamics have gained ground in many American universities and how anti-Zionist conspiracy theories seep beyond academia into politics, educational policy, and the mainstream media, threatening the quest for truth and justice.
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